Monday, September 15, 2014

Bennett Turns 3!

Little Mr. Ben. A whole 3 years ago I was snuggling my chubby second baby. He has grown so quickly. Too quickly. He still requires too little sleep for his mama's liking. He's up with sun with lots of energy everyday. He has an intense love of television and snacks and things that go. Right before he turned 3 he decided he wanted a Hulk birthday cake (it was his only request) and so we ran with it and did a Hulk themed celebration for our special 3 year old.

We started out with a family celebration at Chuck-E-Cheese. The kids had SO much fun there, it was sort of unbelievable. They've been asking to go back EVERY day since.

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We stopped for cupcakes on the way there (we knew we'd have a cake at his party on the weekend, so we wanted something easier for our small celebration) and the choice was froggies or cookie monster. Ben told me he wanted cookie monster so I got 4 of them. THE WHOLE WAY to Chuck-E-Cheese he cried and cried because I did not get the frogs. Ahh, 3 year olds. It was a true grand entrance into this territory of being 3. Tumultous? Yes. Adorable and loving? Absolutely!

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He loved his hulk costume and hulk smash fists.

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Even Crosby enjoyed Chuck-E-Cheese!

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Over the weekend of B's birthday, my mom was in town and we, along with the Gillette's, went bowling. Bennett was sort of iffy about bowling (but he was sort of iffy about anything) so he was in a bit of a bad mood. It was a bummer, but I think overall he had a good time. If you ask him about it, he'll say he loved it!

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The kids scored just as well if not better than the adults thanks to this handy little ball guide gadget.

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We're thrilled to be able to celebrate with our great friends this year!! It's a first of many :)

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My new favorite family shot! It's SO hard to get 5 people to look semi happy and decent. Score!

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These kids... I love them all. But, this photo is PROOF that Crosby looks like Ben (haha!!)

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His Hulk cake! Thank goodness 3 year olds don't care what their cakes look like! Box cake for the win!

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Oh, Bennett. Your whole family loves you SO much. You're fun and loving and a great mix of sweet and spunk. Watching you grow is one of my greatest joys. I love you!

Monday, September 1, 2014

What I Read: August

I can't tell you much about this book without completely ruining it. Everyone I've ever heard talk about it says, "READ IT!!" and I guess I'm saying that, too. It's a book I want to talk about with people. A book that will make me think about it after I've finished it. But, that said, did I LOVE it? No... I don't think so. Was I able to put it down? No. I wanted to keep going. It had me turning pages, eager for the answers, that's for sure. But, I feel so torn about it! Anyway, READ IT. But only because I need to talk about it with someone!! 

I started reading this book months ago and finally finished it this month. I wasn't enthralled in the same way as I was with "Divergent" but towards the end, I was definitely more interested. A good action read, if that's your thing. 

This is definitely one of the better books I've read. I couldn't put it down and just knew it would break my heart in all kinds of good ways. It delivered for sure. I started a local book club this month and chose this book for our first meeting in September and I'm SO glad! It's an awesome book for discussion because there's a large moral issue that's central to the story line. I loved this book. READ IT! And not just because I want to discuss it with you. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

What I Read: July

I've been reading a TON these last few months! So much so that I've made a personal reading goal. I'm trying to read a book a week. So, 52 books in the next year. I've got quite the list going and I'd love to share what I've read each month on this little blog. Here was what I read in July:

This book was quirky and really fun for me because it takes place in Seattle. I have to say that, while I enjoyed this book, it wasn't a complete page turner for me. And towards the middle I was really having to force myself to pick it up. The style of the writing (mostly emails and letters with some narration) bothered me a little as well. Overall though, I enjoyed it and would recommend it for a light, fun read. 

What a fun story! When I first realized it was published in 1938, I was a bit... worried? I just figured I'd have to force my way through it. I was so wrong! It's not a gripping page-turner by any means, but it's thoroughly enjoyable. Funny and charming in its old fashioned ways. I also loved the message of not ever giving up on the idea of adventure and making your life be what you truly wish it to be. 

I LOVED this book! A story about a man looking for love in the most practical of ways and ends up involved in a friendship with a woman who isn't looking for love, but rather her biological father. The main narrator, Don Tillman, is socially challenged and his voice is INCREDIBLE! I found myself laughing out loud throughout the whole book. Rosie, the female he becomes involved with, is equally hilarious and yet both are so warm and like-able you can't help but cheer them both on. This is the best book I've read in awhile! 

Books I Tried to Read in July:

Part of this whole 52 in 52 thing is having to give up and put a book down when I'm just not enjoying it. I recently read a post written by Modern Mrs. Darcy that said you should just not read books you don't enjoy. Many of her readers offered the rule of 60-100 pages in, if you're not loving it, just give up! I loved that rule and so, here is what I didn't finish reading this month:

I really, really wanted to love this book. Or even just like it. It has been widely named by many as a book they just LOVE. I've heard about it in several different circles and yet, I just didn't love it. I was SO bored by it. Now, this could very well have to do with the fact that I was listening to it as an audiobook. I am not accustomed to listening to books be read aloud to me and I found it really difficult to be swept up in the story in the same way (although, I'm currently listening to "The Secret Life of Bees" and am enjoying it very much!). So, perhaps reading it myself would have provided me a better experience? Who knows. In any case, I gave it up about a disc and a half in. I assume I was at least to page 60. 

I'm already behind! But, I'm just about done with another 3 books (I've been reading a few different ones at a time) so I'm hopeful that I can catch up again in August! 

Do you have any suggestions for me?

Monday, July 14, 2014

They're Definitely Brothers....

Ok... I know this is painfully obvious based on time/place and the fact that I just posted a bunch of pictures of Crosby, BUT let's just see who looks like who here with a little guessing game!







Can you guess who's who? And the larger question in this house is... who the heck does Crosby look like?? See, Max is clearly Ritchie's child and Ben is a DEFINITE Rieger (in more than just his looks) so that begs the question.... does the Crosby favor Maxton or Bennett more? (And therefore more Ritchie or me?) 

A. Bennet B. Maxton C. Maxton D. Crosby E. Bennett F. Crosby 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

An Adoption Update

Or... a lack of one, really. To be honest, we're not really sure what the heck is happening with our adoption plans.

When Crosby was diagnosed with aortic stenosis, we really had to take a step back and figure some things out. We're still not exactly sure what aortic stenosis is going to mean in our lives. For now, it's not a huge deal. But, when it comes time for surgery and recovery, we have no idea what we're in for. Both financially and emotionally. Our adopted daughter was also expected to have a physical special need. Either also a heart condition or a cleft lip/palate. Both would require surgery most likely. We just felt unsure of whether or not we could handle two children with medical needs.

That feels so horrible to say or even think. I feel tremendous guilt over these thoughts and struggle regularly with these realities. I so wish I felt like I had the strength to commit to another baby amidst learning of Crosby's condition. But, the truth is, I didn't. So, after some thought, we removed the option for cleft lip/palate from our medical checklist. We're now only open to receiving a child with a minor heart condition. We already have a team of specialists that we're working with and we assume we'll be pretty well versed on matters of the heart (we already know more than I ever thought I'd have to) so we'd be the perfect parents for a baby with a minor heart condition. For now, that's where our comfort lies. FOR NOW. That could all change. We might get to Crosby's first birthday (the first year with this condition is the most telling) and realize that his stenosis will most likely have very little impact on our lives and feel perfectly comfortable committing to a child with higher medical needs than his. We'll just have to wait and see.

The wait for a child with only a minor heart condition is much longer. We were supposed to be matched by now, or very soon. Now, we're likely to wait another year or longer even just to be matched. And, in that time, any number of things can happen. We may decide to add cleft lip/palate back on the checklist, we may decide we would like to wait even longer than 18 months and expand our wait even longer, or we may decide not to pursue adoption anymore at this time. We really just don't know how we're going to feel.

I'd be lying if I said there wasn't heartbreak involved in all of this. I feel some peace knowing that we could very well still adopt a sweet girl and that I could look back on this and know that this was just all a small part of her story. The story that brings us together. But, there's also the very real possibility that our family is complete and I'll never know her. Which also means I'll never experience raising a daughter. These potential losses feel very real to me. Yet, grieving feels wrong somehow.

I intend to write some about postpartum depression since I'm certain I'm experiencing that this time around. And I'm almost 100% certain my depression began after Crosby's diagnoses and our adoption plans changed. Such a hard thing to have your life course rapidly change after so much anticipation and preparation. But then, I feel so odd grieving something I never actually had. And, of course, I feel so grateful for my three boys and that (even given the stenosis!) they're healthy and thriving. Why grieve?

So, that's where we are. Limbo. Thanks for reading. Putting this out into the void helps some. We have tremendous support in our lives and I couldn't ask for a better partner in Ritchie. We'll figure this all out. Someday.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Crosby at 3 Months Old

I can't believe I haven't updated this blog in so long! Oh, wait.. I actually can believe it because I'm basically drowning in children.

Nevertheless, Crosby is a precious, treasured part of the Lincoln's Life and therefore he needs to be documented! What a sweet, sweet baby he is! He's typically mellow and smiles easily. He likes to observe the world around him and is very tuned into sounds specifically. He has a ticklish spot right under his chin(s) and will give belly laughs every time you kiss him there. He also LOVES to be sung to and the one he smiles the most for is "Forever Young". I can't sing it to him without tearing up. This baby boy makes me incredibly emotional.

Just some facts for me to remember later: At 3 months, he's a little over 14 pounds and has gained about 1/2 a pound per week consistently. He's really long, too - but I can't remember that number right now. He's a big kid, just like his brothers. He's getting all sorts of little rolls and is wearing 3-6 month clothing but I fear we'll be out of those in no time. He wakes up several times in the evening. 3-5 times maybe? Honestly, I've stopped looking at the clock. I just nurse him and hand him off to Ritchie who rocks him some and then puts him back in the rock and play sleeper where he currently sleeps. It's working. We're tired, but that's how this phase goes so I'm not terribly worried about it. He had his heart checked at 2 months and it was looking the same, which was good news. We'll have it checked again at 4 months. If he continues not to make any changes through the first year then we can begin monitoring him less and less. He'll eventually need to do SOMETHING about his aortic valve, but when is still a huge unknown.

What else??

Maybe some pictures? Ugh, and so sorry for the small, crummy pics. My computer is KILLING me right now and not letting me resize the files. So you get the lovely blogger resizing. Blah.

0-1 month old:

1-2 months:

2-3 months:

And right at 3 months old. These pictures kill me, they're so very him right now. Rocking the tummy time, sucking his bottom lip, looking at me like I'm weird. 

And, proof that he does, indeed smile like I said... 

He just won't do it when the camera's in his face. I have to hold it elsewhere which is why I only caught part of him. I still love it. He's the best. 

Crosby, 3 months with you and we feel like you've been here forever. You have all of our hearts. Your brothers adore you and Daddy and I marvel at you every day. You are the perfect fit in our family and in our hearts. Smooooch! 

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